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Feminism

This is a subject that I’ve thought about for a long time as a professional. There’s so many different nuances to this  – that make it a very complex subject to discuss. Recently though after the entire Uber – Susan Fowler fuck up, it came up at work again and like I always do – I opened my mouth on a complex subject and talked about it 🙂 publicly and privately. I tried to make my points and educate myself more about it though. And of course eventually.. after a discussion with a female colleague, I decided that I was going to write a little about it. I’ll just hit the main spots in my thought process – it is too complex to fit every nuance into a blog.

So let’s jump straight in. Feminism basically exists to ensure that women get a fair deal and are treated equally everywhere. It is present because clearly there are a large number of chauvinistic idiots who feel entitled to grope women or rape them or deny them promotions (or whatever else) because of her gender. And their gender.

Work

The sooner all that behaviour is stamped out – the better. The sooner every female is treated on par with every man – based on merit – the better. The more there are campaigns about being treated equally, the better. The more education worldwide talks about gender equality, the better. The more stereo-typing is ended, the better. You get my drift. I’m all for female equality…but..yes there’s a but..

.. I’m for it as long as it is based on merit. If a girl is smarter than the 99 other males, she should get the job or the spot or whatever she is competing for. If a girl and a guy are exactly the same on every possible parameter that they are being judged on and there’s no way to decide? Give the girl the job, it’s fine. Specially if it is a male dominated profession. Doing so will send out the message that your gender doesn’t matter. If you’re good enough, you will make it. I grew up through a system that reeked of sycophancy, favouritism and reservations based on colour, religion, caste and gender. I’m not ever agreeing on anything non-merit.

The moment though, you have a male who is actually better – on merit – purely on merit, and people decide that he doesn’t get a job because there are too many men? – it is a problem for me. The moment that happens it is unfair. On 1 man at least. And that’s wrong. And there’s no way I can say that it’s fine because the woman also was good. Sure, she was. No one denies it. But at that point, in that situation – the man was better – he should get the job.

Assault

The more every male who sexually assaults a female is brought to book – the better. The more the law encourages females to come up and speak, the better. The more the law protects them when threatened, the better. The more every rapist gets life imprisonment the better. And yes, I’m in no doubt whatsoever, that most sexually tinged cases have the female as a victim and the male as the assaulter. So yes, protect women more and help them as much as is possible in every way to not be traumatized. But..

.. you need to prove it. Be fair to the man as well. Treat every case individually without having an unconscious bias, that ‘all men are pigs’ and hence if a woman came up, this man was certainly guilty. Be fair, do your investigation and then mete out the punishment – as necessary. Do not simply crucify the man just because statistics say so. Be fair. Just because there have been numerous horror stories against women, this one isn’t automatically one more.

Conclusion:

I’ve tried to be very honest here. I’m probably guilty of having some unconscious biases myself, and as so many at work said – ‘Because you’re a man, you can’t understand’. Yes. Certainly, that is true and I attempt to educate myself all the time. And if I’ve made mistakes, please come and tell me. I will listen to you carefully at the very least. And will ask questions to educate myself. We might not agree in the end – but I hope, at least, we both walk away respectfully having obtained another perspective.

I’ll end with a link. It was terrible for both the man and the woman here. Read it. But then pause and think. It could all have been so much better. Thank You for reading.

Lacto vegetarian to vegan

I’ve been a lacto vegetarian all my life. If you didn’t click the link – it basically means – I eat no meat or eggs, but eat milk and milk products. That’s what I was for a good 30+ years of my life.

After coming to the USA though and finding out about vegan-ism, learning more about the dairy industry and then moving to Seattle where there are plenty of vegan options – I’ve been making this gradual change to a dairy free diet over the last few months. I’m not there yet, its hard to switch after 30 years, and loving food cooked a certain way 🙂 – but I’m nearly there, and personally I’m a little proud of having accomplished that.

I switched to Non-Dairy milk (Wildwood, Silk, Trader Joe’s), Non-Dairy yoghurt (Kite Hill, Nancy and recently Forager), Oil based butter (Earth Balance) and Vegan Cheese (Follow Your heart). I do use other brands as well, but the point being – there’s plenty of alternatives and my food (I do cook quite a bit) tastes just as good.

That apart, I’ve been using synthetic materials for shoes, jackets and any of my clothing needs. Last month I bought a pair of synthetic warm socks (Wrightsock) so I can slowly give away my Smartwool socks and stop subsidizing the wool industry.

There’s trace elements of milk in some of the packaged food I consume, and it is kinda hard to get that out of my diet as well – but maybe some day, going forward – I’ll be able to do that too. I’m not sure how many options I’ll have if I go back to Mumbai, some day – but for now, I have them – so I’m trying 🙂

Why Trump got elected

I’ve never been a big politics fan. Its just one group against another group. Its one evil in favour of another evil. And yes I’ve never voted. Yes, you can call me names and a coward and a fool. I don’t care. I might change my mind in the future, but for now, I really couldn’t care less.

The reason I say this now is because I’ve watched incredulously as Trump gets elected as the President of the USA. Its not because I thought Hilary Clinton was the greatest in the world. But the stuff that Trump has said, in multiple different ways – has made me (and I’m not even close to caring about being politically correct) open my eyes really wide and wonder. If I said any of that stuff out in public, I’d be called out big-time and in fairly deep trouble. I would probably lose my job and have to go back home. At the very least.

But yet, somehow in the USA of all places – he’s managed to get an audience who has overlooked all the shit that he’s said and voted for him. The only reason I think Trump has got elected, is because he has projected himself as wildly different by completely confusing everyone about his true motives. And not as a politician. Had he tried to do this the “usual” route, he probably wouldn’t have won.

People are probably sick of political correctness. And of people saying the right thing in public to pander to one group or the other. And when Trump comes in, he says all these things which make you cringe, but yet deep down everyone (I know I have) wonders if he could really do what he says and be this big world leader that everyone wants.

The fact that he lies (probably on some/most) so confidently, has counted. People are now probably thinking, “If he actually does half of what he says he will… I’ll take that chance and vote for him. Because I’m sick of everyone else who says the same things and does the same things – but it ends up being old wine in a new bottle.”

I tried reading a little about his claims about Mexicans and his stance on abortion. What he really thinks if you read every word is as clear as mud. Just like many many other politicians. But he’s made a brash, outlandish statement and its grabbed ears.. and captured people’s imaginations.

Somehow people want change. Whether that is for better or worse, they don’t (I certainly don’t know) and may never know. But they want change. Its not just politics, its life. We can debate the details a million times but at the core this is the only reason he has got voted in to power. If its different, people hope. Trump’s different.

Whether Trump ends up banning abortions, banning Muslims, creates jobs for America, builds a wall or bombs Syria till it is gone all together, I don’t know. But he’s talked big and he’s talked a lot and its been different. And people have jumped at that, and clung on to it like its the only option going forward.

Personally, I don’t have a stance. I’m fairly sure everything will be just the way it is irrespective of who gets elected to power. There’ll be some change, here and there but politics is politics and the world is too deeply intertwined for anything serious to happen. I think so anyway 🙂

 

Belated Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a big deal in the USA and I wanted to write this then but somehow did not. So I want to write it now.

The problem with a lot of ‘festivals’ (loosely used) is that there’s religion attached to it. And that puts me off it big-time. And I don’t celebrate any of them personally. I enjoy the holidays, the nice food, the fact that everyone is in a good mood and if I’m lucky family’s around. But that’s it. But then I started wondering, I don’t need to be religious to give thanks, which is all really the literal meaning of the word is. So here’s my list of things I am thankful for:

  • Mom and Dad who continue to be pillars in my life. I don’t always get along with them, but they’re awesome.
  • My few friends who are always around when I’m upset or need support.
  • For a great work environment.
  • For good colleagues who are an inspiration on the learning front and who are never bad to me.
  • For earning a lot which hence gives me the freedom to think of a better quality of life.
  • For being able to have freedom of thought on contentious issues.
  • For being able to live in a city which is very progressive food wise.
  • For an ORCA card which lets me travel everywhere without a car.
  • To everyone who has taught me things and continue to do so. Its priceless.
  • For having so many opportunities to learn new hobbies when I stop being lazy.
  • For having lovely parks and places to stroll about when I want to.

I’m sure there’s more, but these are key at this point in my life. Maybe next year I will have another set to be thankful for :).

CPR Class

I did a CPR class at CPR Seattle the other day. It was really nice and I learnt some new stuff. Here is what you do when there’s a cardiac arrest and a person is unresponsive. This is just *my understanding* of the situation – it is NOT a replacement for any training.

  • Clear the scene. Make sure no one else gets hurt while you’re attending to this patient.
  • Try and make the patient respond. If its an adult or grown child, gently slap his/her face. If its a baby, slap the feet.
  • If there’s no response, feel for a pulse in the neck for an adult (carotid), the femoral (thigh) artery or for a baby, the brachial artery (inner arm)
  • At the same time watch for the chest heaving. If there is nothing, the person may not be breathing.
  • Say loudly that you’re going to start CPR, and get people around you to call 911 and get an AED.
  • Start giving CPR. Keep one hand on the center of the chest , put the other hand on top and push down firmly. Let the chest rebound back. About 100-120 compressions a minute is what is needed.
  • Keep your elbows straight and push down rhythmically. Don’t do it too hard or jerkily. Every compression must be perfect.
  • For babies, use just fingers to give compressions. With children maybe a single hand might be enough, decide based on the size of the child.
  • Every 30 compressions, tilt the person’s head back to clear their airways and give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. 2 breaths inside 10 seconds and go back to giving CPR.
  • Don’t breathe in too hard. Breathe just enough so the person’s chest rises.
  • Repeat 5 cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths. If the person has still not risen, its time to use the AED.
  • Let someone else do compressions after 2 minutes at most if that’s possible.

Using an AED:Connect the AED (defibrillator) so it turns on. Follow its directions. Usually this is as follows:

  • Attach pads to patient. One is near the top of the right shoulder, the other below the left-sided ribs. This is so the heart is between the pads.
  • The AED tries to analyse the patients rhythms (VT/VF). If normal, the AED will not shock the patient.
  • If it decides there is a problem, it will tell you to stay clear. Do NOT touch the patient at this point.
  • A shock will be administered and the AED will charge again.
  • Make sure that you continue administering high quality compressions and breaths while the AED charges
  • Once the AED tells you to stay clear, stay clear.
  • Press the button and a shock will be administered.
  • Repeat till the person opens their eyes and regains consciousness.
  • For children there might be a switch to turn it into child mode. If this is not there, use the adult AED – its better than doing nothing.

Gratefulness

I visited Anchorage, Alaska a while back just to peek around and see how it was. It sort of made sense since Seattle is one of the cities that is closest on the USA coast to Anchorage. The trip as a whole was great and I had quite a lot of fun. And of course it made me explore how people lived there in general.

There’s a lot of dependence on hunting animals and fishing in Alaska. Mainly because its just hard to grow plants and vegetables, the climate just doesn’t permit it. Meaning there just aren’t any vegetarian/vegan restaurants around and it’d be very hard for me to live there. In fact, there aren’t even many grocery stores around that I can go and buy food from, unless I had a car. And I began to think a little.

How much in our current lives do we take for granted? We expect that everything will still be there the next morning when we wake up. And they usually are. But there’s a lot of work that went into all of it, which I have sometime been guilty of overlooking.

From the cars we drive, to the buses and trains someone drives everyday, to the grocery stores that stock everything you need, to the pharmacies that have the medicines you want, the Internet you can connect to at any time – ever thought about how easy everything is today?

The trash that gets collected every day, the roads that get swept, the snow that gets melted, the parks that are cleant, the trees that are grown, the boat you can just rent, the bikes you can buy – and just being able to live in a society where you have freedom and can say what you want – when you want it – its priceless.

And that’s all really, I just wanted to take a little step back and look at everything around me and wonder how lucky I was to have been born now rather than before when everything was so much harder. And maybe I should just give back at least the amount that I consume. Everyday. I try, but its probably nowhere near enough.

Exploitation

There’s a friend I chat with once in a way and she pinged saying that she was very tired. I asked why. As it turned out it was partly because people were giving her more and more work and exploiting her good nature, because she’d do it for free. And everyone knew that she would never say no. Sad, that there are people like this in the world – but its the truth – and one has to be strong during such times. How?

Well, the only answer to this is to say no. But of course, that’s easier said than done. The reason you’re in a spot is because you don’t know how to say no. I used to have very similar problems for a very long time, and still do, occasionally but its better. Here’s a few tips that might help.

The first thing is to ask yourself if you really want to say NO. Because, remember if you do, there’ll be less people who depend on you because you’ve now “changed”.

If you’re fine with that, then you have to start saying No. Simple as that. But start with really tiny things, with people who you know you can say No to. And if you say No, it won’t affect any of their plans as they have plenty of alternatives. They won’t think any less of you. Your relationship will not suffer even 1 bit. So all you have to do is muster the courage up and say it.

Once you realize that it wasn’t so terrible, give it a little time, pat yourself on the back that you managed to do it and file this instance away in your mind. Continue doing this with people you’re close to, until it becomes second nature.

Then, it is time to try it with acquaintances or people at work or whoever. There isn’t a need to be rude, remember. Just say, that you have other stuff you need to do, and don’t have the time. That’s it. You don’t need to justify yourself to every person you say no to. Of course, if its possible help them partially or point them out to something else – but don’t do it all. As usual. It is easy to slip back.

Over time, once you make this little adjustment in your behaviour, you’ll notice that people who seem to get in touch only when they need something, no longer do. And that’s good. You have more time and energy to spend on yourself and the people who truly matter.

Try it out. All the best.